Democratic Voters, Private Political Advocacy Firm File Lawsuit to Prevent Run-Off Mayoral Primary Election; NYC Board of Elections Prepared to Spend Over $10 Million on Uncontested Election
NEW YORK, Sept. 16 -- The Public Advocacy Group LLC, a private political advocacy firm based in Manhattan, and two individual Democratic voters, Chad A. Marlow and Christina E. Daigneault, are filing an Article 78 lawsuit today in New York Supreme Court to prevent the New York City Board of Elections from administering an unlawful run-off election in the Democratic mayoral primary.
The top two finishers in this Tuesday’s mayoral primary election were Fernando Ferrer and Anthony Weiner. Mr. Ferrer reportedly received 182,273 votes, or 39.95 percent of the total votes cast. Mr. Weiner reportedly received 131,476 votes, or 28.82 percent of the total votes cast. According to New York State Election Law, insofar as no candidate received 40 percent of the votes cast, the top two finishers were entitled to advance to a run-off election. However, when Mr. Weiner announced on Sept. 14 that he was dropping out of the race, the potential run-off election became uncontested and unnecessary to administer.
Despite Mr. Weiner’s withdrawal, John Ravitz, executive director of the Board of Elections in the City of New York indicated his intention to administer the uncontested run-off election, explaining that he felt it was his legal obligation to do so if Mr. Ferrer did not garner 40 percent of the votes cast. Mr. Ravitz estimated that the run-off election would cost taxpayers $10 to $12 million.
Chad A. Marlow, a petitioner in the action, explained, “Mr. Ravitz has, in good faith, misinterpreted the Board of Elections in the City of New York’s obligations under New York Election Law. Our lawsuit seeks to immediately remedy his potentially costly error and to save millions of dollars in taxpayer money.”
Christina E. Daigneault, another petitioner in the lawsuit, noted that “the papers being filed today set forth in clear terms that both New York State Election Law and the New York State Constitution contemplate that standard obligations to hold a run-off election are inapplicable in the event of an uncontested election.”
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